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The Water Poverty Index:an International Comparison

  • Peter Lawrence


    (Keele University, Department of Economics)

  • Jeremy Meigh

    (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford.)

  • Caroline Sullivan

    (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford.)

This paper reports on the construction of an International Water Poverty Index, part of the first phase of a research project into building a locally based version of the index. The purpose of the Water Poverty Index is to express an interdisciplinary measure which links household welfare with water availability and indicates the degree to which water scarcity impacts on human populations. Such an index makes it possible to rank countries and communities within countries taking into account both physical and socio-economic factors associated with water scarcity. This enables national and international organisations concerned with water provision and management to monitor both the resources available and the socioeconomic factors which impact on access and use of those resources. This paper presents details of the methodology used and the results obtained for 140 countries covering measures of resources, access, capacity, use and environment.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Research, Keele University in its series Keele Economics Research Papers with number KERP 2002/19.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision: Mar 2003
Publication status: Published in Natural Resources Forum : a United Nations Journal, Vol. 27(3), 2003, pages 189-199. [ doi:10.1111/1477-8947.00054 ]
Handle: RePEc:kee:kerpuk:2002/19
Note: Our thanks to very helpful inputs from William Cosgrove, Richard Connor and many others at various meetings and workshops too numerous to list here. Discussions with Rivkka Kfir and her colleagues at the Water Research Commission, Pretoria, and Barbara Schreiner at DWAF Pretoria specifically led to indicators on water quality, governance and distribution being found and added to the index. Many others also made important contributions to the thinking behind this work, in particular the team members of the research project ’The development and testing of theWater Poverty Index’. This paper is an output of that research project funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK Knowledge and Research contract number C24. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of DFID.
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  1. Streeten, Paul, 1994. "Human Development: Means and Ends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 232-37, May.
  2. Srinivasan, T N, 1994. "Human Development: A New Paradigm or Reinvention of the Wheel?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 238-43, May.
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